Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 18 . . .


     by Melissa Butler

They sit at an oak table rough around its curved edge. She asks him

what he’s thinking. He mentions an egg and his lost red sock.

He butters a piece of rye bread. Hands it to her and asks her

what she’s thinking. She licks butter from her lip and offers

a few details from her day: the little girl with a cut finger, forgetting

to feed the dog, wanting more time to paint. She hands the bitten

bread back to him. Tells him a small bird flew

into their window earlier. It didn’t die, but was dazed.

He nods. Bends down to tie his brown shoelace and pauses

to notice the mole on her left ankle. He pushes it like a button

with his middle finger. She pulls her hair behind an ear and tells him

about the mushrooms she got for dinner: baby portabellos. He rises

from his chair to take the leg of lamb from the refrigerator. She says

something about rosemary. He presses play: A Case of You and sits again.

She pulls out one of the long hairs that now grow from his eyebrows.

He asks if she wants wine or gin. She gets up to open the metal cupboard

and removes the goblets her sister gave her. He takes the one

with the slight crack on its base. She tells him lemons are expensive again.

He removes his watch from his right wrist. Uncorks the ’97 Cabernet

and pours her a glass first. They clink and say what they always say

when they toast. He gets up to make a phone call. She looks to the sky

and notices the moon is a faint sliver. He hands her a pen and she draws

a crescent on her left thumb. Later he will notice. He puts down the phone

and ties on his apron. She refills the peppermill while he chops onions. Soon

two tears will fall to his cheek and she will wipe them with her smallest finger.


Melissa Butler lives in Cape Town, South Africa and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her first chapbook, removing, was published by Modjaji Press in June 2010. She has a Masters Degree in Curriculum Theory from Penn State University and a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town.


© 2010 Melissa Butler